man is the warmest place to hide.

eighties horror you might have missed

a nightmare on elm street

In 1984, Charles Bernstein composed the score for Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street and established what is probably the most recognizable theme of 80s horror film. During his music career, Charles has worked on over 100 films (in a variety of genres), won an Emmy, scored a documentary about Maya Lin, taught courses at USC and UCLA, and written two books on film music. Quentin Tarantino has used cues from his scores in Kill Bill Vol.1 and Inglorious Basterds. Some of the other horror films he has scored include: The Entity (highly recommended), Deadly Friend (which we discussed a few weeks ago), April Fools Day, and Cujo. Charles was kind enough to take some time to discuss his score for A Nightmare on Elm Street with us, including some details about the synthesizers and unique sound design he used to construct it...

I think we can all agree that synthesizers are an integral, defining element of late seventies and early eighties horror (so much so that vintage synths are being used in current films to reference that period). This alternative (or augment) to a traditional symphonic score offered a new palette of textures and at a cost that even modest sized productions could afford. As with all horror film music, these instruments were used to establish mood, heighten tension, and enhance the visceral impact of onscreen gore.

In 1977 Sequential Circuits (based in San Jose, CA) released the Prophet 5 synthesizer...